IT MIGHT be a long way from Oxford St, but the call for marriage equality has made its way to Tamworth’s Peel St.
This year, the theme for Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was ‘Creating Equality’.
Mardi Gras has become an annual celebration for the LGBTI community in Australia, with thousands turning out to take part or just take it all in.
But it has always been much more than just a party.
It was born out of protest and aims to deliver a message.
39 years after the first march in Sydney, the calls for equality are still raging on.
While a march down the centre of Sydney seems like a long way from home for us in Tamworth and New England, openly-gay former Olympian Daniel Kowlaski hit the nail on the head when he said it’s an issue that doesn’t discriminate between postcodes.
Marriage equality forums have been springing up around regional NSW, reminding locals their voice and stories are still the most powerful agent for change.
The director of the regional marriage equality campaign Tiernan Brady said visibility of the gay and lesbian community in these areas had been beneficial too.
“When they’re visible, they want them to have the same status as anyone else,” he said of the support extended in regional communities.
And now, the spotlight has been shone on Tamworth with an open forum on marriage equality inside Joe Maguires Pub.
Australian Marriage Equality hosted the forum and have encouraged people to contact their local MPs and let them know why marriage equality is important in their electorate.
The next stop for the forum’s regional tour is just up the New England Hwy in Armidale. All within the electorate of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.
It will be interesting to see whether these forums do become a catalyst for supporters in our local communities and create a bigger conversation about marriage equality.
You get the feeling these forums are probably preaching to the already converted in these communities.
But it’s not just about spreading the good word.
It’s about sparking some action in regional Australia too.
If you’ve got a voice, now’s probably the time to use it.